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The Classic Australian Roadtrip

Betsy-Lou: Our rock, our saviour.

Betsy-Lou: Our rock, our saviour.

I’ve known andyfied for a little over a year now. In fact, while I would be hesitant to say I was the first person andyfied met during his year long Australian (mis)adventure, I would probably be the first legitimate Australian. In Mid October I had the good fortune to be able to join Mark on one leg of his travels on a road trip around Australia. With us was our loyal (cough), pint-sized sidekick Buffey, who we invited mainly for moral support as his tiny stature and ridiculous shiny head wasn’t going to be of any tangible aid to our quest.

If I had to use one word to describe this trip, it would be ‘incompetence’ – I should have tacked onto the fact that we the trip was going to end with one or all of us maimed or otherwise traumatised around the time that I found myself handing a fistful of cash to a greasy, neckless used car salesman. I was convinced that the $50 scrapjob we’d bought wouldn’t even make it back to the hostel. Sure, the aircon rattled like a cripple in Mumbai, and the engine didn’t have enough in it to power the radio and the headlights at the same time but by George was she determined to continue to putter along loyally. That’s not to say that the trip back to the hostel from the western suburbs was completely uneventful.

The world famous pie shop

The world famous pie shop

The closer you get to Sydney’s city center, the more positively labyrinthine the streets and alleys become. Four lane thoroughfares give way to one-way-only streets, and even the most accurate GPS app is completely useless when your copilot is a clueless tosspot who doesn’t charge his phone. What was supposed to be a roughly 45 minute trip turned into a 2 hour terror cruise into oncoming traffic, through the bowels police vehicle bays and unlit construction sites. I was surprised we came out alive, but the car did a brilliant job. It only took a few days before we christened her ‘Betsy-lou Kennuffingham; honorary fourth roadtrip crewman’.

Things started out pretty relaxed for our first leg of the trip. Our daily routine consisted of a few hours of leisurely driving through the countryside, stopping now and again to gander at local attractions or grab a bite to eat. One of the food stops was at a pie shop on the Illawara highway, presumptuously self-titled “The World-famous pie shop”. While not world famous, the pies were above average and at least 10 were consumed between the three of us; resulting in the meanest 48 hours of protein farts I’ve ever had the misfortune to smell.

These few days of jaunty Sunday driving surprisingly reached a crescendo of laziness in the Capital of Australia (by extension, the capital of the free world)  Canberra, while legally the seat of power, is really a glorified country town, and a lazy little corner of the earth at the best of times. Buffey, andyfied and I found ourselves on the streets at 9pm on a Friday night and literally saw no other human being (save for the intoxicated young ladies who decided tried to have a conversation with us in the carpark from the 4th story balcony of our Hostel)

andyfied & Buffey in loving embrace, Australian National War Memorial, Canberra

andyfied & Buffey in loving embrace, Australian National War Memorial, Canberra

Luckily Canberra is slightly (keyword ‘slightly’) more interesting during the day. See Canberra, if Capital of anything, is definitely world capital of groovy-ass museums. I’m not usually a fan of Museums, but a museum where million-volt lightning bolts are a permanent attraction is totally my kind of thing. The Questacon Science Museum is a must see (especially the earthquake simulator, which is refreshingly campy) and a visit to The Australian war museum is a very sobering but enlightening experience (take more than a day to see it all though – the place is chock full of exhibits)

Unbeknownst to us, our lazy days of wandering were now done. See, in the snoozy city, for want of a little excitement, we managed to pick up a tagalong by the name of ‘Oleg’ – A bald, stocky man with a thick Slavic accent who we were pretty sure was an Albanian loan shark or in some way involved with the Russian Mafia. We later found primitive scrawlings of his among the empty beer bottles and McDonalds wrappers when our trip ended. I’ll include some entries where relevant.

Beerbuca is as trustworthy as any Australian that decides to name himself after a drink made from beer and sambuca. andyfied first met him in Sydney mumbling about motor sports and various internet memes.

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